Because of Colorado’s level of tourism, many of the victims served are not residents and do not have family and friends nearby for support. Previously, these individuals did not have acceptable access to needed victim services. When arriving at the scene of a crash, a victim advocate does not know if criminal charges will be filed or if the victims will be subject to the specific protections afforded by Colorado’s Victims Rights Act. From the beginning, the CSP has made it a priority to serve every crash victim with the same standard of excellence, applying victims’ rights standards to every crash and situation. In 2004, seven advocates provided direct services to more than 3,000 victims and family members. These included providing on-scene crisis intervention, care for injured pets, lodging for uninjured passengers, transportation for out-of-state family members, and assistance to school principals and counselors of young victims. Members of the CSP Victim’s Assistance Unit are well educated in victim’s rights, bringing integrity into difficult situations, and giving care and confidence to victims
Has this ever happened to you?
You're driving with your family along a busy interstate at night, when suddenly there's a flash of oncoming headlights and then everything goes black. When you come to, you're in a hospital and you hurt all over. Someone tells you that a drunk driver crashed into your car.
If this hasn't happened to you, be thankful, because it happens to hundreds of people every year in Colorado. The Colorado State Patrol Victims' Assistance Unit was created to help people who become victims of criminal behavior on Colorado's highways.
In 1992, Colorado voters approved Constitutional Amendment A, which guarantees rights to the victims of many crimes, including five of those listed above. In 1997, the remaining two crimes on the list were added to the amendment.
If an Advocate is not needed at the accident scene, an Advocate may be asked to meet the victims at the hospital to:
The Advocate ensures that the support system (family, friends and co-workers) is in place to help the victims begin to deal with this traumatic event.
Have You or a Family Member Been Assisted by a CSP Victim Advocate?